Individuality Included


  • Riikka Kuittinen Oulu School of Architecture, University of Oulu
  • Eevamaria Juuti Oulu School of Architecture, University of Oulu
  • Matti Lakkala Oulu School of Architecture, University of Oulu
  • Janne Pihlajaniemi Oulu School of Architecture, University of Oulu



mass customization, log house, wood architecture, individuality, design process, affordable housing, affordable individuality


Only a few percent of new detached houses in Finland are designed by architects. Most people planning to build a house use only free design services included in the price of house delivery. This means for example that a building engineer designs the house based on some standard model, which he changes according to discussions between sales person and customer. This often results in seemingly generic houses that do not capture most value of the plot. Log houses make no exception in the Finnish market, even if they are a somewhat luxury product abroad. Why do not people in Finland use architects for designing their log houses? Is it because of the price of the design work? How does the log manufacturer’s system of configuring houses work without architects? Are log house companies satisfied with the current system? Could mass customization strategies be suitable for developing design and production processes of log houses?

This paper presents results of studying the need and supply of individuality of log houses, and current house design processes that let users participate configuring their new log homes in Finland. The study was carried out via consumer study and interviews of log house industry’s managing directors and sales personnel. All of these companies are building non-speculative individually-commissioned houses, building houses to meet customers’ individual orders rather than for stock.

Based on our consumer study, there is a great demand for individual houses. Only 8,8% of the consumers would choose a standard house model. However only 10% of respondents would prefer a unique house designed by an architect, while 68.9% would prefer a modified standard model. Most important reason for not using architect is the price of the design work. This results in contradiction, since consumers want an individual house, but are not ready to pay for designing.

Surprisingly, all interviewed managing directors of log house companies said they produce only individual houses. Customers always want some modifications even in the standard models, and that results in designing each house anew. This has a negative effect on the profits of the companies, since design work is included in the price of the house delivery. What customers might not realize is that when design work is done at the risk of house builders or even sales people, it is done with as little effort and cost as possible.

Since the existing design process of log houses produces often seemingly generic but always laboriously planned houses, there would be need for improvement. Systematization of individual choices could benefit log house companies in terms of design resources. And If mass customization approach would bring architectural quality available to a broader group of new log house dwellers, they would benefit, too.




How to Cite

Kuittinen, R., Juuti, E., Lakkala, M., & Pihlajaniemi, J. (2022). Individuality Included. Architectural Research in Finland, 3(1), 121–132.